We’re going to tell you something you and your New Year’s resolutions probably don’t want to hear.
Nine out of 10 people who set New Year’s resolutions will not achieve what they set out to do. The statistics show that 64% of us will make it past one week, and less than half of us (46%) make it past six months. The more time that passes, the less of a chance we’ll change our habits for good.
In our first post on resolutions, we talked about the concept of behavioral drift, which is a clinical term for your brain’s tendency to want to go back to old habits. Setting up new habits and being consistent with them will decrease the chances that you’ll drift back into your old behaviors, but it will never completely eliminate the desire to drift.
At this point, you might be thinking it just isn’t worth it to set goals. Why go through the trouble of changing your diet, joining a gym or taking language classes if you’re going to fail? We understand the concern, but there are a slew of powerful methods to help keep you on track.
#1 Monitor Your Self Talk
Take a minute to think about how you handle failure. What do you tell yourself when you realize you’ve had a setback? Most of us will fall into two categories of self-talk: positive and negative.
Many of the experts we’ve talked with during our research have pointed out the power of the conversations you have in your head after a resolution setback. What you say to yourself after one of these slip-ups will have a profound influence on your chances of success should you decide to keep going with your goal.
A good exercise is to write down what you tell yourself after you, for example, miss three days of the new healthy eating plan you set up for yourself. Are you calling yourself a failure or a fraud, or are you ready to admit your mistake and move on?
#2 Break Up Your Year-Long Resolution Into Four-Month Chunks
Julia Buckley, a fitness expert based in the U.K., says many people who start year-long resolutions can get stressed out and anxious at the thought of committing to an entire year of working out.
Instead of trying to tackle 365 days, stick with 28. Four-week goals are much easier to attain, and because they’re easier to attain, there’s a good chance you’ll hit your objectives. Those small successes will motivate you to keep going when most people start to quit.
“By doing this, you won’t hit February at a point where your motivation is wearing thin and have your good intentions gradually slip away,” she wrote in a recent blog post. “You’ll have seen real progress and you’ll have already achieved your first goal!”
#3 Listen to Entrepreneur Podcasts
If your goal is to boost your performance at work and/or get the raise and promotion you’ve been hoping for, then you don’t need to head to a gym to meet your goal. You need to learn and be inspired.
One of the best ways to do that is through entrepreneur-focused podcasts that you can listen to during your commute or during breaks. The business narratives you’ll hear will bring you a host of different perspectives on change, success and advancement that you can apply to your daily grind.
Mixergy Startup Stories and Entrepreneur on Fire are two of our favorites – they feature captivating stories that will equip you with all the inspiration and wisdom you’ll need to meet your professional goals. Inc. praised both podcasts, placing them on their list of top-15 podcasts for entrepreneurs.
#4 Use the SMART Acronym to Fine-Tune Your Goals
A common trap we find ourselves in is creating resolutions that aren’t specific and we don’t really connect with. We might be doing it because a friend is doing the same thing, or because we saw it or heard about it on our favorite talk show.
The SMART acronym is a way to combat nebulous, impersonal goals. Here’s a quick breakdown of each letter, courtesy of MIT’s HR department:
- Specific: Vague resolutions are bad resolutions.
- Measurable: How will you know when you’ve achieved the goal?
- Attainable: Is your resolution realistic?
- Relevant: Do you connect with your goal on a personal level?
- Time-bound: Do you have a deadline or specific schedule you’re operating from?
Ready for the New Year? We Are!
We hope that the advice we’ve shared in the past two posts will increase your chances of achieving the resolutions you’ve set for your personal and/or professional life. If one of your goals is to overhaul your office and make it more relevant to today’s worker, stop by our Contact Us page to let us know what you need.